RACI and delegation are both means to an end, not ends unto themselves

According to Raphael Moutard, ”With Impact delegation, you define a threshold. Under this threshold, you delegate entirely the decision and every step of it.”

Moutard suggests that we use impact delegation as an alternative to RACI, and explains what can go wrong when you use RACI incorrectly:

“If you need to build a RACI with your team, you probably have a structural issue that you should fix first. RACI doesn’t help with delegation. Everyone should know what they are responsible and accountable for and should work in the same direction.”

Moutard suggests impact delegation helps you avoid these problems because it enables the following:

“Clear ownership: The final decision maker is known. He is responsible and accountable for the outcome (in this case hiring someone).

Goal-oriented not process-focused: the goal is to make a hire, the Owner is accountable for the result and owns the process. He can delegate part of the process to anyone.

Easy progression: If someone knows how to hire a junior engineer, he can quickly ramp up to hire a senior engineer, as he has already done every step.

Less ambiguity, less process. There is no gap, if a hire requires a VISA process, no need to add that to the RACI, the owner is in charge of that. If a candidate is referred and you want to skip the Initial Interview the owner of the process can. If a candidate asks for a specific laptop for their onboarding, consider it done.”

My take:

Like most tools, RACI ought to SUPPORT a purpose (serve as a means to an end) rather than BECOME a purpose (an end unto itself). When we delegate (or distribute) work we generally have some mix of three purposes in mind:

– Execution: achieving current (clearly-defined) short-term and/or long-term outcomes in an efficient, effective and engaging manner by utilizing capabilities we know someone already has

– Development: enhancing our future capacity to achieve short-term and/or long-term outcomes in an efficient, effective and engaging manner by transferring capabilities from someone who already has them to someone else who needs them

– Exploration: enhancing our future capacity to achieve short-term and/or long-term outcomes, some of which may not yet be clearly-defined, in an efficient, effective, engaging manner through experimental activities that reveal opportunities and capabilities that are likely to be relevant in the future

If creating a RACI supports these three purposes, we should probably create one. If we can achieve them without a RACI, though, we probably don’t need one.


What kind of support does a manager need to provide to ensure that impact delegation actually leads to the accomplishment of the three above purposes?

Can impact delegation be used to delegate work to groups?

Would a well-done RACI be a useful tool for the group to use after they have accepted ownership of the impact?


© Dana Cogan, 2024, all rights reserved.

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